Saturday, February 5, 2011


This is a rant because it's my blog and I can.

On December 27, 2008, I bought a Sony DSC-W170 Cyber-shot point -and-shoot camera. For a short while, it worked fine, but then one day in 2009 when I turned it on, the lens kept extending and retracting, and I got a message to turn the camera off and on again repeatedly. I got online with Sony chat support and they walked me through the re-initialization process, which fixed it. But it kept happening. Seemed like I was having to re-initialize the dang thing about every other week. Finally, the day came when that no longer worked. At some point in 2009, I had to send it in for service. I had to pay for insured UPS shipping, but the warranty covered the service. They never said exactly what they did, but I suspect they replaced the whole lens assembly — basically the entire guts of the camera.

At least once after I got the camera back, I had to use online chat support to diagnose and correct other issues, and then it started the same cycle again — déjà vu — and I was having to re-initialize the dang thing every other week or so. Yesterday, as before, that would no longer fix the problem.

I called Sony support this time and got "Brian" from Budapest (or Bali or Bangkok or Botswana), whose script required him to apologize for my inconvenience as the start of each sentence. First he told me they had no record of ever having serviced my camera. He searched by serial number and found me. Then he told me I need to send the camera in — again — and asked if I purchased an extended warranty. I did, but guess what? It expired December 27, 2010. Of course it did. So now, I'd be charged for shipping and service.

I'm not stupid, and I'm not unreasonable. I know stuff wears out and doesn't last forever. But this camera has not been dropped or abused in any way, has a documented history of this same issue, and Sony wants to make it my problem? Really?

I emailed them a message via their website, and told them I intended to tell anyone who would listen that Sony SUCKS. They responded with an automated email thanking me for taking the time to write, because my feedback will help them get better. Then they had the cojones to send another automated email wanting me to take a survey rating their customer service. It was tempting, but it's an exercise in futility, since it's all automated responses. I'm not going to waste my time; it will just piss me off more than I already am.

I won't pursue repairing the camera again. I'm sick of crappy quality and companies that refuse to stand behind their products. I got a Canon PowerShot A3000 as my 15-year service award from my company. I gave it to Mike, but will share with him until such time as I can afford to buy another. I can assure you, it will not be a Sony. Nor will any other electronic device I buy be a Sony. No baloney.


Rising Rainbow said...

Oh, sorry to hear you had problems with your camera. That sucks! I don't think there's anything more frustrating than wanting to take a picture and losing that moment because the camera malfunctioned.

As for customer service seems to me it's become a lost art. There's nothing consumer friendly about automated responses or scripted representative out of the country that can barely be understood, let alone not following through when a problem has already been confirmed before the warranty expired. I can see why you're p*ssed.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

That there is the power of blogging. We can reach a wide audience and hold manufacturers of crappy products accountable. That's why I started my other blog Nuz Muz Reviews. I talk about the good products too, but it gives me a chance to rant when I feel I've been ripped off. I'm sure the Canon will work out much better for you.

Story said...

I've got to jump in and say I have a Sony DSC-H2 and it sucks too! Anyone reading my blog might notice the distinct lack of pictures. Half the time it won't take a picture at all, regardless of how many times or what technique you use to press the button. If it does decide to be so kind as to take a picture, the exposure is completely messed up, regardless of the setting you use. I'm so annoyed with the thing, it's not like it was inexpensive! Ugh! Thank you for the opportunity to vent about my camera, too. I feel better now lol. My Blackberry takes better pictures!

Leah Fry said...

Story, my pix always looked to me like they were slightly out of focus, not quite right, but I was always willing to blame it on my middle-aged eyes. Maybe my instincts were right all along.

Dreaming said...

I can really sense your frustration and disgust. It used to be that Sony was a great name in cameras. It really bothers me that so many things that we buy are so poorly made...and manufacturers seem to promote a 'throw away' and replace attitude. In the GOD (Good Old Days) companies had pride in what they made and stood beside their products. Things were repaired and stood the test of time. Not so true anymore, sadly. I guess manufacturers have figured out that to stay in business they must sell, and sell again. So, make it shoddy and folks will head back to the store. Arggh.
However, I have noticed that service and attitude in some of the big-box stores have really changed with the economic downturn. Maybe better things are on the horizon!

Unknown said...

canon rocks. HP too. I gave up on Sony years ago - they have no clue how to keep a customer.

Desert Rose said...

Oh HORSESHIT!!! I have SONY stock! I am so sorry you had such issues!!! I would make a bit more noise at them if I were you...there should be some kind of way they could help you fix a fairly new camera!!!

Sherry Sikstrom said...

My point and shoot is a Panasonic (Lumix) amazing little camera worth its weight in gold.Never had a problem so I don't know about service , but it lives in my pocket and has been dropped in hay, horse cookies, and once had a small bath , still going strong

cdncowgirl said...

"This is a rant because it's my blog and I can" loved that opener!

IMO that's one of the problems with our great tech age... Companies have almost everything automated so they no longer really hear us.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Rant on!! Both of the little point and shoot Sony cameras that we bought crapped in about a year. The first one I blamed it on the fact that Megan and I used it in a lot of dusty situations-horse shows, rodeos, the corral, etc. The second one we took better care of and it still crapped out.

We now all have Canons and not a single problem. My Honey has had his for 4 years. Mine for 2 and Megan's for 1.

As for customer service? It's become universally crappy. Companies don't want to have to fix anything or deal with customers. They just want you to replace it.

Esther Garvi said...

The larger the company, the worst they treat you... It's next to impossible to actually talk to anybody human these days. I use a Panasonic (Lumix) too and I've been very happy with it. Model is DMC-TZ7 but I think there are newer versions out. It hasn't been without wear and tear, but then I really DO wear and tear on my camera... All the bush dust etc. The best thing is that (in Sweden at least), they're not expensive.

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